JERUSALEM -- 'Twas a famous victory for diplomacy when, in 1991 in Madrid, Israelis and Palestinians, orchestrated by the United States, engaged in direct negotiations. Nineteen years later, U.S. policy is enabling Palestinians to avoid direct negotiations by engaging in "proximity" talks. The Palestinians talk to Americans, who toil to get them back to 1991 -- to direct negotiations. But negotiations about what?
JERUSALEM -- In the intifada that began in 2000, Palestinian terrorism killed more than 1,000 Israelis. As a portion of U.S. population, that would be 42,000, approaching the toll of America's eight years in Vietnam. During the onslaught, which began 10 Septembers ago, Israeli parents sending two children to a school would put them on separate buses to decrease the chance that neither would return for dinner.
JERUSALEM -- When Israel declared independence in 1948, it had to use mostly small arms to repel attacks by six Arab armies. Today, however, Israel feels, and is, more menaced than it was then, or has been since. Hence the potentially world-shaking decision that will be made here, probably within two years.
JERUSALEM -- Two photographs adorn the office of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. Together they illuminate a portentous fact: No two leaders of democracies are less alike -- in life experiences, temperaments and political philosophies -- than Netanyahu, the former commando and fierce nationalist, and Barack Obama, the former professor and post-nationalist.
LAS VEGAS -- Sometimes provocative people become that way because they were provoked. Sharron Angle, 60, could be enjoying the 10 grandchildren she loves even more than her .44 magnum. Instead, she is the Republican nominee against Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's quest for a fifth term. Her campaign began, in a sense, three decades ago, when a judge annoyed her.
WASHINGTON -- Evidently Hamid Karzai did not get the memo on terminology. U.S. military commanders have stopped using the word "operation" to describe the drive, now delayed, against the Taliban in Kandahar, Afghanistan's second-largest city. This word connotes danger and stirs dread among the population, whose allegiance is the prize for which counterinsurgency is waged.
WASHINGTON -- Today, as it has been for a century, American politics is an argument between two Princetonians -- James Madison, class of 1771, and Woodrow Wilson, class of 1879. Madison was the most profound thinker among the Founders. Wilson, avatar of "progressivism," was the first president critical of the nation's founding. Barack Obama's Wilsonian agenda reflects its namesake's rejection of limited government.
WASHINGTON -- Barack Obama, an unbeliever genuflecting before the altar of frugality, is asking Congress, as presidents do, to give him something like a line-item veto. Coming in today's context of his unrelenting agenda of expanding government, his proposal constitutes a counterfeit promise to get serious about controlling spending and the deficit.
MILWAUKEE -- Before what he calls "the jaw-dropping" events of the last 19 months -- TARP, the stimulus, Government Motors, the mistreatment of Chrysler's creditors, Obamacare, etc. -- the idea of running for office never crossed Ron Johnson's mind. He was, however, dry tinder -- he calls Ayn Rand's "Atlas Shrugged" his "foundational book" -- and now is ablaze, in an understated, upper-Midwestern way.
WASHINGTON -- The candidate who on Tuesday won the special election in a Pennsylvania congressional district is right-to-life and pro-gun. He accused his opponent of wanting heavier taxes. He said he would have voted against Barack Obama's health care plan and promised to vote against cap-and-trade legislation, which is a tax increase supposedly somehow related to turning down the planet's thermostat.